Bow Arts & Wilmott Dixon
Where the A12 crosses the A13 in Poplar is the Aberfeldy Estate. We were commissioned to develop a Public Art and Way Finding strategy for the soon-to-be developed parts of the estate. As with all of our projects, we developed our designs collaboratively to ensure the overarching narrative for public art within Aberfeldy New Village will be relevant for existing and new residents across the lifetime of this development.
September 2014 - March 2015.
Looking closely at the rich history of the East India Dock we explored themes of trade to find a ‘launching off point’. We developed and expanded these themes into an intriguing multi-layered narrative.
In order to have on-site presence and to showcase artefacts alluding to trade we created a mobile cart of curiosities that can promenade through Aberfeldy and visit the existing community groups we identified, encouraging people to stop, explore and trade senses with us, in any language.
We created the blog ‘Aberfeldy Trading Senses’ to hold this content and promoted it throughout our project with local help. From start to finish, our project had a wide and diverse reach, including toddler and parent groups, schools, an elderly lunch club, craft groups and womens' groups.
We raised awareness of our project through a range of creative workshops. We noted a local appetite for needlecraft, so developed our Paisley block printing workshop to include an embroidered component which allowed participants to make a bag - then hosted a ‘paisley party’ showcasing the finished embroidered bags. The party, which also invited families to decorate paisley biscuits and make badges, helped root our project and team more firmly in the minds of the community.
We maintained an on street presence throughout the project, in and around the Aberfeldy Centre, the 309 bus stop and Chrisp Street Market.
Working with imported spices (related to the trade history of the area) we invited residents to cook a batch of E14 mango chutney in the Aberfeldy Centre. We invited them to prepare the ingredients, package the jars and then take the chutney home to share with family. We ran a stall at Chrisp Street market to share the flavours more widely, introduce other people to the project and increase awareness of the new development.
As well as the engagement and participatory workshops, we put together detailed designs and recommendations for the artistic interventions such as paving, cast bronze objects, carved boulders and the meridian line, all to be installed along the sites linear park. All of these interventions to the landscape were created with the local history in mind and in turn influenced by a number of community workshops; from pattern making, to tea cup design and from mango chutney cooking to paisley embroidery.